News
March 4, 2014
MP calls for inquiry into death of Chateaubelair woman

Parliamentary Representative for North Leeward Roland ‘Patel’ Matthews is calling on the relevant authorities to launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Silma ‘Codo’ Thomas, who reportedly fell ill during a police raid at her home and subsequently died.{{more}}

According to Matthews, he was not saying that the police were directly responsible for the woman’s death; however, he said that there were some concerns about the actions of the police.

Speaking on the ‘New Times’ radio program yesterday morning, the MP said that he was told by the brother of the now deceased woman that his sister collapsed as police were conducting a raid on her home in Chateaubelair last Thursday afternoon.

Matthews said the brother added that the police went about conducting their search after the woman collapsed.

He said that the man pleaded with the police to do something and that it was not until he realized that the situation was getting serious that he went to the aid of his sister and called a doctor.

Matthews related that she was taken to the clinic in Chateaubelair in a private vehicle, despite the presence of the police transport.

Thomas was transferred to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown, where she died the following day, Friday.

The MP called for the Commissioner of Police or the Minister of National Security, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves to launch an investigation.

“I am not against the police carrying out their responsibility as police officers; however, I think in a situation like this, the police might not have acted properly,” he said.

“The search was done and the fact that they continued after the woman became ill – none of us know how we will end up,” Matthews continued.

Thomas, a mother of two and grandmother, had no previous criminal record, he said.

“I am calling on the authorities to conduct an investigation into the manner in which the police acted; to find out by their action if it is negligence that would have resulted in the death of this young woman.”

He said that he had made several calls and wrote several letters following the 2010 General Elections to plead with the police to stop the harassment of innocent people in Chateaubelair.

“This thing has been going on for too long; who knows if this has led to the tragic loss of this young woman?” he questioned.

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace further endorsed the call for an investigation to be launched, saying that things were done without proper thought and that although the result may not have been the intention, it happened anyway.

When contacted, Commissioner of Police Michael Charles said that he was aware of the situation, but was not prepared to comment, as he was waiting to be fully briefed on the incident. (DD)